Monday, May 8, 2017

Eastern Canada Trip 2016 Day 15 Tuesday June 28: Toronto, Mississauga, Calgary, Greater Victoria



This is the 15th and final of a series of posts dealing with my 2016 trip to Toronto, Montreal, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

I got up, deposited the linen in the bin, did some last minute packing and left Backpackers on Dundas for the usual 24 hour McDonald's, which was open this breakfast. I walked south to King St and Canada's Walk of Fame. "Honest" Ed Mirvish has a square likely because he contributed to the arts in various ways such as restoring key buildings like the big music place whose name escapes me. Curiously though Canada's Walk of Fame has a square on Canada's Walk of Fame. After wandering through the stretch of Queen St where construction was happening, I returned to Denison Square/Bellevue Square, correctly guessing that the bench by the al Waxman statue would be unoccupied. Graffiti still there. I walked to Bloor St and headed west, getting a photo of myself with Honest Ed's in the background. I continued west to Lansdowne and then returned east, trying to figure out how to kill time until Honest Ed's opened. I visited Metro (a grocery store) and got a Slurpee at the 7-11 diagonally across from University of Toronto. I wandered through Yorkville Village, mostly for the first time except for one or two stretches.

I returned to Honest Ed's just before they opened, noticing that the sign saying they were remaining open until Dec 31, 2016 was gone. I'm guessing the sign simply fell down but it does add a question mark. I made my final purchase there, fittingly an autobiography of founder Ed Mirvish. A shame that such an amazing cultural icon is being replaced buy a complex with condos. for all its outward tackiness, Honest Ed's was built with love, and you can't really replaced something like that.

[NOW: Honest Ed’s is indeed now closed.]

Heading east on Bloor I bought a trade at BMV Books. I decided to give Willow Books, which I rarely visit another chance but they hadn’t opened yet. In one construction area I could see empty ground where Sunrise Records on Yonge near Bloor used to be. I visited Game Centre. Heading south on Yonge I was going to get a book I was considering from ABC Books but they didn't open for another 15 minutes. I considered going back later but as I continued south I felt myself psychologically letting go of the area already passed. I visited Edward St.'s BMV Books and stopped briefly at Yonge-Dundas Square. In Toronto Eaton Centre I had KFC's Tuesday special and explored a bit of the mall before returning to the hostel.

Grabbing my stuff, I took the 1/Yonge-University-Spadina line train to St. George Station where I took the 2/Bloor-Danforth train west to Kipling Station. There I took the 192 Rocket bus to Toronto Pearson airport in Mississauga. All transportation this paragraph TTC/Toronto Transit Commission.

I checked in. My two non-carry on bags actually cost me $63 after tax to fly to Victoria! Next time I do a flight to Toronto I'll check if Air Canada is any cheaper with baggage because I'm not impressed. I rode the train that goes between terminals for free (TTC?) but mesh hindered the photos so I just went from Terminal 3 to 1 and back.  A woman at security seemed exasperated that everyone seemed confused by the system (maybe it needs to be more clear?) but I made it through okay. They had free public iPad terminals from which I concluded that if I ever get one I'll have a bit of a learning curve ahead.

[NOW: The above train is the LINK train.]

On the Westjet plane to Calgary there was no map screen and there was a cranky baby. Throuh the window I got photos of my luggage being loaded onto the plane (ditto while waiting to get off). Mostly clear during the flight. The plane arrived early in Calgary. With my map gone due to the earlier Kitchener mishap I knew finding any specific place would be tricky, plus I didn't think I could safely go *too* far. I did wander I little ways north of the airport, carefully noting most of my path so I could return easily enough. That worked out and I had dinner at A&W. Just before heading through security I noticed a split in my backpack where my spare camera was. Don't think I lost anything.

Near my gate there were two cylinders with model planes that spun (three per cylinder). I wasn't impressed with my seat on the flight home. No map again plus the window was filthy with dust, hindering picture taking. Westjet has in certain ways gone downhill. Still we made good time getting to Victoria. I decided to take the YYJ Airporter home because after 9 the rates are cheaper, and if I had taken the public transit I'd just be getting home down. To save time i paid for my ticket before the suitcases arrived. In one case the zipper had split at the top. Hope I didn't lose anything. The YYJ Airporter got me home in good time. I decided just this once to take the elevator instead of stairs which moved to be a good thing because just after I pressed the button the one suitcase split open completely and things starting spilling out. Hopefully other than stuff like the soap that was lost previously, nothing was lost today.

[NOW: I did lose a cell charger, but managed to work things out with Westjet.]

Eastern Canada Trip 2016 Day 14 Monday June 27: Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton



This is the 14th of a series of posts dealing with my 2016 trip to Toronto, Montreal, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

Today was the last full day of exploring. Last night I noticed that I had left my soap and shampoo in a bathroom. Recovered the shampoo but unless it's hidden in my stuff, lost the soap and soap dish. Pointing out a typo on the fridge but the front desk guy dismissed it as "not his writing".

Got up a little before 5 due to someone's snoring. Just after 5 walked to my usual 24 hours McDonald's but they were closed until 6. It was before opening for a Burger King and A&W but found an open McDonald's at Yonge & Temperance. I walked to Union GO Station and got a daypass. The Lakeshore West train (all Lakeshore West trains GO Transit) was late leaving the station apparently due to construction, though also first day of new schedule.

[NOW: The hostel I stayed at was Backpackers on Dundas. All restaurants above are on Yonge St.]

I got off at Port Credit GO Station (in Port Credit, Mississauga) and walked to Sylvester Park at Lake Ontario, then the shopping area, then back to Port Credit GO Station. The next train was late arriving and I took it to Oakville GO Station. I walked to parks at the waterfront. Leaving the waterfront I saw an orange rabbit and later a chipmunk. I explored the downtown area and then walked to a comic shop calling Comic Connection. A couple magazines I deemed too expensive but I did get a pop from a vending machine with a "Let the Lord Decide" button. The Lord picked Coke on this occasion. Since I was about half ways between stations I walked to Bronte GO Station, still Oakville, where I waited for a lakeshore West train. I got off at the next stop, Appleby GO Station in Burlington. I walked west, getting a Slurpee at a 7-11. All Slurpees this trip were part of a promo where if you withdraw money from a Scotiabank machine at 7-11 you get a free Slurpee voucher. I walked to Beat Goes On, then Sunrise Records in Burlington Mall (I skipped Cinema 1 at the same mall), and Conspiracy Comics. I just missed a train at Burlington GO Station so I went to a nearby Walmart McDonald's for lunch and then took a slightly late Lakeshore West train to Aldershot GO Staiton where I transferred to an 18 bus (GO Transit) that took me from Burlington to Hamilton (GO Centre).

[NOW: The parks that I visited in Oakville were Waterworks Park and Tannery Park.]

I took a 10 express bus (Hamilton Railway; no rail in their system) and got a transfer on the bus. I got off at Steel City Video and got some DVDs; funds were low which was surprising because I thought my Great West Life amount wound have covered things. I took another 10 bus to near MacNab Transit Terminal; in the latter I took a 27 bus (Hamilton Railway) to Beat Goes On and back. I'd have liked to have visited Big B Comics on the way back but transfer was close to expiring. I got a DVD set at Cheapies (later learning I may have half of the set already), wandering to Hamilton GO Centre. Since I just missed a bus I visited a Scotiabank and tranfered some money between accounts. Gore Park (actual name) downtown was under renovations, as it previously was in 2012. I took an 18 bus (GO Transit) back to Aldershot GO Station. I tried to visit Everything Video, which Google Street View suggested was still around but it was gone. On the Run wanted too much for their drinks. Retuning to Aldershot GO Station (and after finding it pricey there too getting water from bathroom sink), took a slightly late leaving Lakeshore West train back to Union GO Station (the announcer called it Lakeshore East but while eastbound I believe it only changes names at Union). A guy was talking on his cell most of the trip.

[NOW: The DVD set was for cult movies. Half the set seemed to be a variation of a set I already owned, so while there was indeed considerable overlap, there were a few differences. I don’t think the other half overlapped much if at all with my older set.]

I walked to my usual McDonald's for dinner (it was now open). I met up with Aidan at Toronto Reference Library, just north of Bloor on Yonge, visited ABC books en route; before seeing him I visited a comic shop in the library. Aidan hadn't finished so I walked to Rosedale Station and back. Meeting up with Aidan we walked south in search of a pub. One was too loud even outside, the second was completely full outside, the third, an Irish pub was just right. We parted company at Yonge St & Dundas St and I returned to the hostel.  Tomorrow's report will be pretty late. No promised as I will be bone tired upon arming in Victoria but will attempt at least a placeholder email tomorrow night. But if I'm too exhausted will email Wednesday morning.

[NOW: The comic shop in the library was Page & Panels. I did manage to do the final report before turning in.]

Eastern Canada Trip 2016 Day 13 Sunday June 26: Toronto



This is the 13th of a series of posts dealing with my 2016 trip to Toronto, Montreal, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

The home stretch of the trip has begun. Today was the last of the days that was predominately or in this case entirely within Toronto proper. It's also the final day of my weekpass. I had basically switched Saturday and Sunday's itinerary, but much of the itinerary had already happened so this more or less became an "anything can happen" day. All transit today TTC/Toronto Transit Commission.

I ate breakfast at McDonald's then walked to Queen St where I took a 501 streetcar to just past High Park. I wandered around the waterfront, where I got sunrise photos with the CN Tower in the background, saw swans, and crossed bridges over Humber River and Mimico Creek and back I headed north to the giant High Park, which I briefly passed Friday but did not enter. I walked north to a park map and made an educated guess of how to get to the park's small zoo from that point. I found a trail that hadn't been used in a while (webs) and due to steep downhill had to half sit going down to keep my camera safe, but I exited the trail at the zoo. I walked through the one-path zoo to the north end and continued north to Bloor St. At High Park Station I took a 2/Bloor-Danforth train to St. George Station and then switched to a 1/Yonge-University/Spadina train to Downsview, mainly because the north end is above ground and wanted photos of the side I hadn't gotten to yet. At Downsview I stayed on the train but switched seats. Horseshoe-like it went south then north again to Sheppard-Yonge Station (during the ride there was a passed out black lab pup on the train). By that point I'd been in the subway over an hour and was feeling a little queasy. I walked north to Finch Station. Then I took a 1 train south to the Bloor part of Bloor-Yonge Station. i walked west along Bloor St, soon encountering an outdoor market. I used that as an excuse to walk along the middle of the road.

[NOW: The market was the 20th Annual Annex Family Festival.]

I ate lunch at the Hero Burges inside the Honest Ed's complex and then visited Honest Ed's itself, getting photos of some of the more humorous signs. It's a shame that this amazing landmark is going to be destroyed next year for development. Neurotica Records was late opening to I continued on to Zoinks! I took an eastbound 2 train to Spadina Station and then took a 510 streetcar to near Sonic Boom Records, which I visited.

[NOW:  Honest Ed’s and the above Hero Burgers are now closed. Neurotica is now on College St.]

I took a 501 streetcar that only went as far east as Broadview Ave, then another 501 streetcar that only went as far as Kingston Rd, which was my destination. I walked to Woodbine Beach, did a dip in Lake Ontario, and rested a bit. I noticed before most people that it was started to get a little overcast so I took a 92 bus one stop back to Queen, and then a 501 streetcar east to Planet X Comics. I took a westbound 501 streetcar to University Ave. Walking north to Dundas St I took a 505 streetcar to just past Denison Square. I walked to the square, where some small musical event seemed to be happening. Because the Al Waxman station is by a bench I again had trouble getting a good photo as the bench was occupied. Well, I got good photos in previous years. I took a 505 streetcar back to Yonge-Dundas Square.

[NOW: I finally got the photos I wanted the following Tuesday.]

I visited Silver Snail Comics and then continuing north on Yonge had dinner at A&W. After passing Not Just Condoms (but wait there's more!; not to be confused with Condom Shack on Queen St; that last bit isn't a joke), I visited ABC Book Store. Heading to Church Ave I got more DVDs at 7-24 Movies & More. There was a pride event happening on the street. Some of the clothing would probably not be accepted at a Victoria pride event. At Yonge-Dundas Square there was some sort of East Indian event. I walked to a jazz event near City Hall, rested a bit, then returned to the hostel. Depending on how sleepy I get I might go for another walk or just turn in early. I’m leaning to the latter.

[NOW: Both the Church St and Queen St branches of 7-24 are now closed. I did do a brief walk after.]

Eastern Canada Trip 2016 Day 12 Saturday June 25: Toronto Including Toronto Islands



This is the 12th of a series of posts dealing with my 2016 trip to Toronto, Montreal, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification.  These are indicated by “NOW”.

4/5 of the way to the end now!  Last night someone snored the most obnoxious snoring I've ever heard. I got up to use the washroom but really to get relief from the snoring. Managed to get back to sleep. At a little after 5:30 I woke up again and this time the room's peanut gallery was also commenting on the snoring.

I got up and walked to a further away McDonald's for breakfast and then continued north along Yonge to Sheppard-Yonge Station. During this walk I noticed that the coin section of my new money belt had a split so I moves the coins to the larger section; my padlock key and subway tokens survived; since the hole is small I left the cards in the coin section. Passing through the west side stop of the 4/Sheppard Line route, I took the 1/Yonge-University-Spadina train (TTC/Toronto Transit) south to Union Station, where I transferred to a 509 streetcar (same). No one thought to ring the bell so lots of us got off at the stop after Queen's Quay Station.

[NOW: Like the one I normally went to, this McDonald's was on Yonge St.]

i walked to Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and bought a ticket to the Toronto Islands. I handed the ticket/receipt to the ticket guy and much to my shock he didn't return the ticket. I took the Centre Island ferry (Toronto Parks) to Centre Island Ferry Terminal. The ferry terminal is on an island often called Centre Island, but I prefer Middle island to distinguish from a larger island of the same name. On Middle Island I visited Centreville Amusement park, briefly walking to Olympic Island and back and visiting the park's Far Enough Farm (petting zoo). The whole receipt thing was bothering me so I found an info booth near Centre island Ferry Terminal; they said I'd have to go back to Jack Layton to get the receipt. In the meantime I crossed over to Middle Island to the larger Centre Island, visiting a beach with multiple names including Chelsea Islands Beach. I walked west, stopping briefly at Gibraltar Point Beach and Gibraltar Point Lighthouse., working my way to the Hanlan's Point area of Centre Island. That section has a clothing option beach and a ferry terminal, both also called Hanlan's Point. I returned to Gibraltar Point then Chelsea Beach and then continued east. I walked from Centre Island to an island with the Toronto Yacht Club and back, then Snake Island and back, then Algonquin Island and back. For the letter two islands, got nice views of the CN Tower. On the east side Centre Island (the larger one) becomes Ward Island so I visited Ward Island Ferry Terminal and then Ward's Island beach, where I had lunch. During this walk along Centre/Ward Island I sometimes saw 10 km/h speed limit signs.

[NOW: Chelsea Beach is probably best known as Centre Island Beach and also known as Manitou Beach. The Yacht Club island is RCYC Island aka South Chippewa Island.]

After lunch and resting, I walked along the boardwalk from the Ward Island section of this largest island to the Centre Island section. The boardwalk doesn't allow quadcycles where are common; boards along the boardwalk are loose. I revisited Chelsea and Gibraltar Point beaches before working my way back to Hanlan's Point. I took the Hanlan's Point Ferry (Toronto Parks) back to Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. Playing my Asperger's card I managed to get a receipt, albeit with the wrong time (after 4 pm instead of 9:13). So a receipt indicating Toronto Islands but not really a memento of the specific trip to the islands sadly. I took a 509 streetcar and 1 train (both TTC) to Dundas Station. There was a Christian concert at Yonge-Dundas Square. With a meet with my friend Aidan to happen in an hour I walked to his street (Church St) to get a sense of distance, returned to Yonge St, visited Hairy Tarantula, and grabbed a Slurpee from 7-11. Near the square and dog was doing flips for treats. I wandered along Church St and grabbed a Pop Shoppe pop (lime ricky) from Hasty Market). I visited my friend Aidan and got some photos from his 24 story place. I also briefly met his new partner. Aidan and I had some drinks and then we had pizza at Blaze's across from Yonge-Dundas Square. I then returned to Backpackers on Dundas.